Acne Face Map: What Are Your Breakouts Telling You?

Acne is a common skin condition that occurs when pores in the skin become clogged. Hormones, stress, oil, and dead skin cells can contribute to clogged pores and breakouts. 

Often, acne will occur on specific parts of the face. For instance, while one person may experience acne on their chin, another may notice it on their forehead. Why does acne occur in specific areas, and what does this mean? 

Let’s take a closer look at what your breakouts may be telling you. Follow this helpful acne face map to understand the common causes behind your acne and how you can soothe breakouts. 

What Is Acne? 

Acne is a condition that affects the sebacious glands and hair follicles. When the hair follicles are clogged with dead skin cells and excess sebum produced by those glands, you experience symptoms like pimples and bumps. 

There are several different kinds of acne: blackheads, whiteheads, and even cystic acne and spots under the skin. Regardless of the type of acne you may experience, it is most commonly caused by excess sebum production or if your oil glands become blocked. 

Acne is very common, so if you experience breakouts, you’re not alone. Most people experience acne at one point in their lives or another. For some, acne occurs during middle school and high school, while for others, acne occurs during later life. 

What Do Your Breakouts Mean? 

Here’s what your breakouts mean depending on where they’re located as well as how to address each type of acne

Forehead Acne 

Acne on the forehead can be caused or worsened by your hair products and makeup. Serums, gels, and pomades can all contribute to clogging your pores, so use them sparingly and make sure you keep your hair clean. The same goes for makeup — if you don’t clean off all of your makeup, you might be risking clogged pores and breakouts. 

If you notice you’re breaking out in that area more than usual after trying out a new product, stop use and see if your skin improves. You can also pay extra attention to making sure you clean all of your cosmetics and any hair products off your skin. 

The forehead is also part of your t-zone, which also includes your nose and chin. This area contains more oil glands than the rest of your face, so you’ll produce more sebum here, making acne and clogged pores more likely. There’s no quick fix for this cause, but a skincare routine that’s tailored to your specific needs may help. 

Chin Acne 

Acne on the jawline and chin area may be a sign of hormonal imbalance and may indicate that you should focus on your gut health. If you experience acne targeted toward the chin and jaw areas, this may be an indication of hormonal fluctuations

Hormones are complex signals run by the endocrine system. Disruptions to the endocrine system can take place for a variety of reasons. For instance, when you start your menstrual cycle, begin ovulation, or start a new medication, you may experience chin acne as a result—which is why this kind of acne may be called hormonal acne

If you notice increased breakouts with certain foods, they may be influencing your endocrine and digestive systems. Consider cutting back on foods to determine what foods affect your hormones—for example, if you think dairy might be impacting your acne, you can switch to dairy-free alternatives. You can also focus on supporting overall gut health to balance hormones and chin acne.

Cheek Acne 

If you experience acne on your cheeks, an activity that’s part of your standard lifestyle may be the culprit. Our faces come into contact with bacteria each day. When we answer phone calls, our cell phones touch our cheeks and rest on our faces. If you touch your face, you also bring the bacteria and oils on your hands to your face. 

We can even contact bacteria while we sleep! Sometimes, dirty pillowcases can be the culprit for cheek acne. 

The best ways to combat cheek acne are to avoid touching your face or resting your phone against your cheek and wash your pillowcase frequently. A general rule of thumb is to swap out or wash your pillowcase at least once a week. Face masks could also be breaking you out. Opt for breathable cloth or silk masks and wash them after every use. 

You can also clean your hands and phone screen often to prevent as much bacteria transference as possible. By keeping these surfaces clean, you can keep your skin clean too. 

Hairline Acne 

Hairline acne, sometimes called pomade acne, is one of the most typical types of acne. Depending on how you part your hair, the specific location of your breakouts may differ. This type of acne is located at the very top of the forehead and is especially common if you have oily hair

Hairline acne is most often caused by the products we use in our hair, like hair oils, hairspray, dry shampoo, and leave-in conditioner. Our hair can collect a lot throughout the week. 

Inevitably, the product we put in our hair comes into contact with our skin. If you have bangs, your hair may transfer product to your face when it rubs against your forehead. Products can also seep from your hair and scalp onto the skin around your hairline

If you’re experiencing hairline acne, there are a few easy ways to help reduce this type of breakout. First, look at the products you’re using. If you’re using hair products with comedogenic ingredients, these may clog your pores and lead to acne. 

Look for non-comedogenic hair products to avoid clogging your pores. You can also try washing your face after styling your hair, using a clarifying shampoo, and shielding your face with a hand or cloth when applying spray-on hair products.


How To Address Acne 

Understanding the acne face map is a helpful way to understand what’s causing your acne and the most effective way to help address it. 

However, this isn’t the only way to soothe breakouts and help your skin. Below are some ways to help address acne and achieve clear, healthy skin. 

Use Non-Comedogenic Products 

While hormones, gut health, stress, hair products, and dead skin cells can contribute to acne, all acne is caused by clogged pores. Skincare products and hair care products that clog pores are known as comedogenic

It’s important to avoid these pore-clogging products and ingredients if you’re trying to soothe acne breakouts

Perfect Your Skincare and Makeup Strategy 

One of the best ways to take care of your skin is to find the perfect skincare routine. To customize your own skincare routine, start with a gentle cleanser and moisturizer. Every routine should also include some form of SPF, whether it’s already included in your moisturizer or you’re layering it on top. From there, each person’s skin is different. 

For instance, if you’re looking to correct the appearance of acne, our Matcha Color Corrector infused with ingredients such as Matcha, Hibiscus and Seaweed can do that, along with minimizing the appearance of acne scars over time. 

 Your Journey to Happy Skin 

Once you know the cause of your acne, your skincare journey should help address it. That might take a little trial and error, whether you decide to change up your hair products or you work on reducing your stress. Either way, your skincare routine should make things easier, not harder. 

Here at Journ, we’re committed to using quality ingredients that you recognize, like Seaweed and Matcha, to help minimize your skin concerns and help you feel like your best self. 


What is Acne? Definition & Types | NIAMS 

What Does Acne Placement Mean? | Cleveland Clinic 

What Is Comedogenicity, and What Ingredients Are Comedogenic? |